If you have noticed the price of meat starting to go up, chances are you are not alone.
All over the country, it is getting more and more expensive to fill that shopping cart with meat.
There are several reasons behind this, and one thing that customers are noticing is that the pricing on brisket seems unusually high.
Brisket has gone from being one of the most affordable cuts of meat to one of the most expensive.
Some say that this was a long time coming, and others say that what is happening with the prices is a bit ridiculous.
If you are curious as to why brisket is so expensive and if there is anything that you can do about it, we have all the answers you need.
Here are ten reasons brisket is so expensive.
Why Is Brisket So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Becoming Very Popular
Brisket is becoming very popular.
It really doesn’t matter where you are located in the country, there are more and more brisket recipes showing up on menus.
In addition, there are more barbecue places that are featuring brisket.
Essentially, the word is out about brisket, and people are realizing that it is easy to work with, and many people enjoy the taste of it.
When something gets popular, the pricing is almost always impacted.
This is the basic marketing concept behind supply and demand.
Essentially, the pricing of a product has to go up because the demand for it is higher than the supply.
If brisket had not gotten as popular as it is right now, there is no question the pricing would be lower.
Finding brisket at a lower price is becoming nearly impossible because you are not the only one looking for this product.
So many people are trying their hand at brisket recipes or brisket pop-up restaurants that it leaves us all paying higher prices and trying to figure things out.
Certainly, there is not much that can be done about this unless the supply or the demand were to change.
If people find another cut of meat that they find to be a better choice, then the pricing of brisket would likely change.
2. Only Two Briskets Per Cow
We mentioned that supply and demand is an issue with brisket.
There is another reason that plays into this.
The fact is that there are only two briskets per cow.
Unfortunately, when cows are butchered, there is quite a bit of ground beef, and then the other cuts are much more limited.
Things like filet and flank and skirt steak will have limited quantities even if the cow is a couple of thousand pounds in size.
This has everything to do with the anatomy of a cow, and there won’t be much that can be done about it.
Having only two briskets per cow means that a lot of cattle will need to give their lives in order to fill the demand for meat.
This becomes a problem for farmers who are trying to sell all of the meat from the cow.
They won’t want to sell only the brisket as this will not produce a good profit.
Farmers have to work to ensure that they are covering all costs of their farming and their cows before they can butcher and sell.
If they only have the brisket sold, it would certainly not be worth it to butcher the entire cow.
Since there are only two briskets per cow and the demand is so high, sometimes you will have a hard time finding brisket in your local grocery store.
What you may have to do is contact a local farm and set up a relationship with the farmer.
The farmer will likely be happy to sell you the brisket at a slightly higher cost because they can eliminate the grocery store as a middleman and make some extra money.
Expect this issue with the price of brisket to stay in place for a very long time.
3. Can Be Used In A Variety Of Recipes
One thing that is quite apparent in the world of cooking is that there are a variety of recipes that people will continue to try and make.
Truly, when you think you have seen it all, somebody will come up with a new version of some great meal that you must try.
This is absolutely what has been happening with brisket.
If brisket used to be eaten as a more traditional meal, things have changed.
Where you see a lot of the brisket used is in sandwiches where the meat is either slow-cooked or grilled with a dry rub.
This will tenderize the meat and make it so that it literally falls apart when it is finished cooking.
Some people make brisket nachos and even brisket tacos with the meat.
Since the brisket does a great job of holding on to any flavor that you put on it, you can easily get the meat to taste exactly as you want it to.
Therefore, you can change up the marinades and make this into something that fits specifically for your meal.
You may see more and more brisket sold with just sides and not being part of a sandwich.
More and more high-end restaurants are putting brisket on their menus, and it is simply sold with some vegetables or other sides.
The reason behind this is simply that brisket tastes really good and has lots of flexibility.
Since you can alter the way that you cook it, the overall results are a great tasting and impressive piece of meat.
4. Drought Conditions
We’ve already mentioned that one of the issues with the supply of brisket is that there are only two of these cuts of meat per cow.
This means that farmers have had to raise many more cattle on their farms to keep up with the demand.
Farmers like it when there is a demand for meat because it gives them more potential to make money.
However, when there are drought-like conditions, this becomes a significant problem.
Droughts are a real problem for cattle ranchers.
When there is not enough water to keep the grass growing, the cattle can’t graze.
In addition, the land becomes more difficult to take care of and maintain, and it becomes impossible to have as many cows as needed.
Many farmers have to thin their herds and then not continue to build them until the conditions for farming and raising cattle get any better.
Of course, this is difficult for farmers to gauge, and they want to ensure they are both profitable and smart about this process.
The best cattle farmers know the right conditions in which to raise cows, and they will do all they can to ensure that.
In the end, a cow that was raised properly and exposed to the right amount of food and water will sell for more money.
People can tell the difference between the meat of a well-raised cow and that of one that had a more difficult upbringing.
For cattle ranchers, trying to stay on top of these conditions that seem to almost always be working against them can get quite difficult.
5. Competition With Big Names
Not only are small restaurants, barbecue joints, and everyday consumers trying to grab brisket, but the big-name restaurants are as well.
This means that places like Arby’s are purchasing brisket in huge quantities.
When a fast-food restaurant puts a brisket sandwich on their menu, we will all pay for it.
Not only will the pricing of brisket go up in the stores, but the pricing will go up at these restaurants as well.
This gives brisket the appearance of being a premium meat.
Meanwhile, years ago, it was thought to be one of the cheaper cuts of the cow.
A restaurant with a large name like Arby’s is very difficult to beat.
With a menu that features anything involving brisket, there is going to be a large impact on the supply and demand and the pricing.
If a large fast-food company like this ends up adding more brisket to their menu, the demand gets almost extreme, and it will happen overnight.
Although you may enjoy the brisket sandwich from a fast-food restaurant, it is most certainly impacting your grocery store pricing for a piece of brisket.
Next time you want a brisket meal, it may make the most sense to get one of these fast-food choices instead.
It’s hard for most people to understand the volume of brisket that is needed to fulfill an order for a place like Arby’s.
You will have to imagine that it is much more than you could ever think possible.
6. Holiday Meal For Some Cultures
For many years, brisket has been considered to be a holiday meal in some cultures.
For Jewish people, brisket is a traditional meal that is served for family gatherings.
Typically, brisket is a substantial cut of meat, and that makes it much easier to feed a crowd of people.
There are also ways to roast brisket so that it comes apart quite easily and can be served with other traditional Jewish foods.
This has been a difficult adjustment for many holidays for Jewish people.
Not only is the price of brisket unnecessarily high, but it is also impacted by the greater demand.
In other words, there are situations and times when the brisket is nowhere to be found.
This has unfortunately led to replacements in what were long-standing family traditions.
Overall, the fact that there are certain times of the year when brisket will be more highly sought after is going to change the pricing quite a bit.
Think of this a bit like Thanksgiving and turkeys or Christmas and hams.
If you were to buy a turkey any other time of the year, you might have a hard time finding it, but you will likely find it on sale from time to time.
Around Thanksgiving, you will notice that there are a lot of turkeys to choose from, and although they may appear to be on sale, some are actually the same price or even a little higher than usual.
For those who are shopping for brisket for a traditional holiday meal, expect to see an increase in price this year.
The increase will be significant enough that you may want to find another meal to help feed the crowd of people.
7. Love Of Barbecue
More and more people are getting into the idea of barbecue food.
Barbecue has a great taste, and it is fun and easy to eat.
Many people like barbecue because it typically has a more laid-back style to it, and the restaurants are fun and not all that fancy.
You can sit outside with friends and talk and enjoy some great flavors.
However, the fact that barbecue is becoming so popular has increased the price of brisket.
These barbecue restaurants are coming up with new and creative recipes to attract people to their establishments.
One of the meats they are using to do this is brisket.
You will have probably noticed that barbecue used to be one of the cheapest meals to go out for.
You could get lower-grade meat doctored up with sauces and spices so that it ends up tasting great with your meal.
This is no longer the case, and the food is now of much higher quality and considered more of a premium option.
Even small barbecue restaurants that look like they might have a great deal will charge $15 or more for a small lunch plate.
The love of barbecue has increased the overall pricing that you find for brisket because of the competition and because people now look at brisket as being a more high-end food.
This is no longer like eating barbecue chicken or wings.
It’s a completely different category of food that stands out from the rest and has led to an increase in pricing.
8. Fuel Prices
Fuel prices have been on the rise now for quite some time.
One of the things that you will notice when fuel prices go up is the price of most products will go up along with it.
This has everything to do with the cost of moving food from one location to another.
Chances are you don’t have a cattle farm in your town that is supplying the needs of the entire town.
Most of the time, there are large cattle ranches hundreds of miles away.
The meat is butchered at these places, and then it is brought to your local stores.
As you can imagine, this is a long and challenging process that includes shipping with cold trucks.
The trucks must remain at a cool temperature the entire time so that none of the meat spoils.
The fact that meat is traveling a long distance and has to stay at a specific temperature means that you will pay quite a bit more for the final product.
As individual buyers of brisket, there won’t be much that you can do to save money on brisket shipping.
For the most part, you will have to try and find a local supplier where you can go and pick up the meat.
This is your best bet, but you are probably going to see higher prices for the meat itself just because it is fresh, and you are dealing directly with a supplier who will also package it for you.
9. Cattle Farming Costs
If you have ever looked into the costs of being a cattle farmer, you have probably realized that brisket isn’t priced that high after all.
Cattle farming is very expensive.
The pricing continues to go up because of land prices and overall farming regulations and costs.
To start out as a cattle farmer, you are going to need a large plot of land.
Healthy cattle need plenty of room to roam around, and in order to make a profit as a farmer, you are going to need quite a large herd.
After purchasing the land, then livestock is important.
There are lots of important factors that go into creating a healthy herd of cattle.
Cattle farmers need to understand all that is involved and help to ensure that each cattle makes a profit for them.
In addition to the space and the knowledge, the cattle farmers also must pay to have help on the farm, and the extra labor costs also increase the pricing.
In the end, the costs to start a cattle farm will keep many people from trying it.
Therefore, it makes quite a bit of sense for the pricing of brisket to be a bit higher simply because of these cattle farming costs.
Last but certainly not least, one of the reasons brisket is so high in price is Texas.
This may sound like a strange reason, but if you have spent some time in Texas, you would understand why this is.
Brisket in Texas is becoming its own food group.
People in Texas have created an entirely new line of barbecue that is known as Texas BBQ.
For years, the south has been known for having the best barbecue meals, however, as time has gone on, the state of Texas has started to pave its own way on the barbecue map.
The Texas BBQ is different than it is in other states.
You will notice that there are plenty of dry rubs used, and the meat is often slow-cooked for hours.
You may even find that brisket is smoked.
Some restaurants are so well known for their brisket that people will stand in line for hours to access it.
This may seem extreme to you, but in Texas, it has become a big thing.
In addition, Texas BBQ is much more expensive than it is in other areas, yet people are still willing to pay.
This new barbecue culture has brought even more issues with limited supply and high demand.
Some will say that once you taste Texas BBQ, you will see why the pricing is so extreme, but it is worth it.
Others still have a hard time forking out this kind of money for barbecue food.
Hopefully, you now feel as though you have a better understanding of why brisket is so expensive.
The time spent on raising cows to produce brisket, the overall low supply, and the ability to do so much with the finished product all lead to these higher costs.
If you are a fan of brisket, you may have to start limiting how often you eat it to be able to stay within your budget.
The more money you spend, the better that brisket better be!
It will be interesting to see if this trend of high-priced brisket stays in place for years to come or simply goes back to the way it used to be.